Radical Self Care for Beginners
There is a meme that I see shared a lot that says something like…”I’m a mom, my hobbies are trips to the bathroom alone and silence.” And there’s another one that jokes about “neglecting my hair and dreaming about bed time”. Believe me, I’ve been in that place, in fact I used to live there- that is until I made the choice to embrace radical self care.
Since all women are different there is no one size fits all approach to self care. When I meet with new moms I inevitably prescribe some form of self care, but it varies. I think the standard prescription tends to be- “Go get your nails and hair done.” While that works for some moms, other moms need to go for a hike, or sit by the pool, or get in a work-out, make art, or go for happy hour. But this is all basic stuff. The results are time limited. Your nails stay nice for a few days (or a few weeks if you get the gel) and one exercise session will temporarily boost your endorphins and perhaps help you sleep better that night if timed well. And there is the risk that we can put to much pressure on ourselves to do these things and feel guilty when we don’t or push ourselves to overdo when we do finally have the chance.
When I say “Radical Self Care” I mean more. I mean creating routines, rituals, and practices that prioritize your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health first.
Radical self care:
Is asking your heart what it needs to feel loved and giving it to yourself or asking if loved ones can support your need.
Looks like asking your body what it needs to feel nourished and cared for and then doing it.
Looks like asking your mind if it wants to learn anything new or solve any specific problem and attending to that. (I’ve learned that given no particular task my clever mind will create problems to solve, then obsess over them leading to crippling anxiety if I don’t intervene at some point.)
Is making time to connect with God, Spirit, Nature, the Universe, or whatever it is that you do to care for your soul.
Means taking these as gentle suggestions and starting out where you can manage, trying just a small step at a time and not expecting or demanding perfection of yourself. “Radical” doesn’t mean we need to be extreme or aggressive about our self care. The word radical is used to acknowledge that this level of commitment to one’s self is entirely counter-culture.
A simple way to begin practicing radical self care is to ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment” and then follow the answer. Whenever you feel depleted, stressed, over-extended, confused, or any of the myriad of feelings that one sits with in a day, you can turn to this question and trust that within you the answer is waiting to reveal itself. If the answer seems to suggest an unhealthy behavior, sit with it longer and ask yourself what the deeper need is.
I meet with a lot of mothers who already know their answers but also have barriers to this level of self care. Some of the barriers are physical and some are mental, but they are all real to the mothers who experience them. If radical self care feels unrealistic, or too hard, or nice but not manageable, let me know. I can help you work through your blocks and problem solve so that you can be the most nourished, grounded, and joyful version of yourself, despite what is going on around you. Send me an email and let’s schedule a session.